Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Return of the Non-Native

I've been away for awhile.

The daughter came home for a visit from her university in the UK. So, the lovely wife and I had a good week long visit with her. I got two video games for Christmas and have been busy trying to conquer Medieval Europe and exploring the world of Gothic 3. My wife was also sick at home during my Christmas break with a cold and I've had to devote some time to her out of spousal sympathy. That didn't leave a lot of time for blog posting.

I was going to post on Sunday but went on a hike with a bunch of 20-somethings and came back so stiff and sore I couldn't see straight.

So, between holiday revelry and 70 plus hours of gaming and nursing my wife back to health from a cold. I've just not found time to post. I'm actually working on a post about the Medieval Total War 2 game but that isn't ready yet.

It is sort of a shame I've been so busy or otherwise occupied, because there has been a lot to think about and write about.

  • Christmas in Hong Kong
  • Ethiopia and Somalia
  • Poisonous eggs from China
  • Israel threatening Iran because Iran threatened Israel
  • Pig farmers in South China dying of an untreatable pneumonia.
  • The broken elevators in my building
But, perhaps the weirdest thing in the last three weeks to my mind was a court case. I have, over the years engaged in a lot of table pounding over the idiocy often on display in the Hong Kong courts but there was recently a case that took the biscuit. Especially since it didn't involve Nina Wong or Long Hair Leung.

There were two bank employees sent to jail here for swapping new bank notes for ones in their pocket.

They were not stealing because they were simply replacing one new bill for another NEW bill that they'd withdrawn from their account at the same bank. They were not embezzling, they were not even doing this under the table. They were were swapping normal bills for bills with "lucky serial numbers" which many of the locals would pay more than the face value of the bill to have.

How was this a crime? The bank was not out any money. They were not defrauding the government or their employer in any way. These lucky bills evidently find their way into coin shop all over Hong Kong anyway.

My few regular readers will know that I am somewhat dismissive of the superstition that is practiced by even many of the well educated in Hong Kong. While I don't condone Fung Shui I don't persecute those who practice it. Evidently Standard Chartered Bank does! How is swapping one $100.00 bill for another a crime? Does the bank keep track of the serial numbers? Even so, how was this a crime?

Maybe I'm just dumb but I cannot see how what they were doing was a crime UNLESS the banks or government themselves take those lucky bills and auction them off or maybe give them as salary bonuses to high government officials for their weekly trip to Macao. Since nothing in the TV news or paper indicated that they do; I fail to see a crime. How is this activity different from janitors who sort through trash for paper, glass, aluminum, steel and plastic to recycle? Does Price Waterhouse Cooper demand that the Janitors reimburse them for the profits made by the cleaning staff from their waste paper baskets and lunch room garbage bins? It just looks like smart employees finding a way to supplement their income to me.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger Who Doesn't Have a Lucky $100.00 Bill

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